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Winemaker Q&A: Holly Turner

Born and raised in McMinnville, Oregon, Holly Turner is Northwest to the core. As Three Rivers’ winemaker, Holly has forged lasting relationships with growers throughout the region, giving her access to some of the best sites in the state of Washington.

We recently caught up with Holly Turner, who talked about Foley Family Wines, her fellow women in wine, how she’s managing the current COVID-19 crisis, and an exciting new project she’s working on.

FFWS: What is it like for you to be part of an organization with women at the forefront?

Holly Turner (HT): It’s great to have such strong female leadership at Foley Family Wines. This is a fun place to work—our leadership is always looking for ways to improve and adapt to our environment, which these days seems to be changing at the speed of light. 

FFWS: Tell me about the other female winemakers within Foley Family. How do you all work together?

HT: I am isolated in Walla Walla, far from the reaches of other female winemakers located in California. I champion them whenever I get the chance; it’s nice to know that the Foley Family supports women in winemaking.

FFWS: How does Foley Family support you in your role? 

HT: The Foley family supports me as a winemaker in so many ways, providing any resources we need to help us reach our goal—which is, of course, making wines that are awesome! I’m always on the lookout for the best fruit from the best AVAs to put into the best barrels at the right time at the right temperatures. We are given whatever we need to achieve this. 

FFWS: How’s the 2020 growing season so far? What’s going on in the vineyards at the moment? 

HT: We’re having a nice 2020, we don’t have bud break yet so there’s no frost pressure. Give us another month and we’ll see. 

FFWS: What is your favorite thing about making wine in eastern Washington?

HT: The diversity of space and grape varieties—we’re still in the wild west out here.

FFWS: If you could make wine anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

HT: Funny, I can’t imagine making wine anywhere else. I am content living and working in Walla Walla wine country.

FFWS: We heard a rumor you have a fun project in the works! What can you tell us about that? 

HT: Yes! We’re working on a new project called Headturner, a fun new brand where I get to showcase the best of what Washington’s AVAs have to offer. Our first releases will be a Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay and a Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, both from the 2018 vintage. Stay tuned for the release date!

FFWS: How has the current coronavirus situation affected your operations at the winery?

HT: We’ve closed the tasting room as have all the Foley properties; it’s certainly something none of us could see coming. In production, there are only four of us so we continue to work on the wines to prep ultimately for bottling. We finished bottling our reserve wines earlier this week, glad to have them all buttoned up.

FFWS: Which wine are you stocking up on if you have to go on lockdown?

HT: All of it!! Right now, I am particularly enjoying 2014 and 2015 reds, as well as some spring wines like Sauvignon Blanc and rosé.

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